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The Entire Star Wars Story Finally Explained

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a farm boy on a desert planet dreamed of joining a rebellion and saving a princess from a dark lord. Thus, one of the most successful cinematic sagas of all time was born. What began as a space opera detailing the fall and rise of the Skywalker family soon grew into a transmedia empire that tells stories of smugglers, bounty hunters, clones, Jedi Knights, and freedom fighters in the form of films, comic books, video games, TV series, novels, theme park attractions, and toy lines. Today, more than 40 years after it first arrived, "Star Wars" remains a global pop culture phenomenon — and the story still isn't over. 

There's so much stuff happening in the "Star Wars" saga that it can be hard to keep it all straight. That's why we're here to help. Whether you're new to this whole "Star Wars" thing or you just want a refresher on one plot point or another, this is the entire "Star Wars" story, explained.

A long time ago...

Having evolved and discovered hyperspace travel, the intelligent life of the "Star Wars" universe forms the original Galactic Republic. The Jedi Order, a group of peacekeepers with a connection to the Force, is also established. But rogue Jedi soon emerge, split from the order, and become the Sith, who use the dark side of the Force.

Powerful warriors known as the Mandalorians also fight the Jedi Order. The Mandalorian-Jedi War devastates Mandalore, their home world. Despite this animosity, a Mandalorian warrior named Tarre Vizsla is inducted into the Jedi Order and constructs the Darksaber, a unique black-bladed lightsaber capable of slicing through anything, save beskar steel. The Darksaber also connects with the wielder on a subconscious level, becoming lighter or heavier based on the way its owner embraces or resists the connection. After Vizsla's death, the Darksaber passes through many hands and becomes a symbol of leadership. In order to properly obtain the Darksaber, however, one needs to defeat the previous owner in combat.

After centuries of conflict, the Sith are seemingly wiped out in the Jedi-Sith War. In actuality, the sole survivor, Darth Bane, establishes the "Rule of Two." It dictates there can only be two Sith at one time — a master and an apprentice. This prevents infighting among multiple Sith Lords, and allows the Sith to go undercover.

Around this time, the long-lived Maz Kanata is born, along with future Jedi Grandmaster Yoda. Yoda's activities during this period are unknown, but he eventually becomes a powerful Jedi who trains many Jedi Knights over the course of centuries.

The High Republic Era

With the Sith seemingly eradicated, the Galactic Republic enters the High Republic Era. This is considered a golden age for the Jedi and the Galactic Republic, who are intent on expanding into dangerous Outer Rim territories and giving poorer citizens a place to flourish. This leads to the creation of Starlight Beacon, an enormous space station placed in a dark zone, to help travelers find their way.

Despite the relative peace of the era, the Jedi still contend with disasters and conflict. After the freighter Legacy Run comes apart, large pieces of debris shoot out of hyperspace at near-lightspeed, colliding with planets and killing billions. This catastrophe is caused by the Nihil, a marauder group that extorts planets about to be hit by the dangerous debris. Though the Jedi and Republic work together to stop the Nihil, the conflict leads to the destruction of Starlight Beacon. The Nihl proceed to become the controlling power in the Outer Rim. Elsewhere, near the end of the High Republic Era, Count Dooku becomes one of the greatest Jedi of his generation and trains future Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn. However, his interest in the Dark Side proves to be his undoing.

In time, artifacts from this and earlier eras become highly sought after by both Jedi and Sith looking to increase their storehouses of knowledge and power. Other artifacts become the targets of rogue archeologists like Doctor Aphra, who sell ancient weapons to the highest bidder.

A dark lord rises

As the Jedi continue serving as the Galactic Republic's peacekeepers, the surviving Sith secretly begin plotting to overthrow them. They work with only two members at a time in the shadows of Republic prosperity. It's near the end of this millennium of peace that Darth Sidious, a Sith Lord who is also secretly Senator Sheev Palpatine of Naboo, sets his plan to eradicate the Jedi and seize control of the Republic's government in motion.

A few years before Palpatine's plan begins gaining steam, a seemingly inconsequential event occurs that comes to affect the whole galaxy. A boy is born to a slave woman named Shmi Skywalker, who claims her son was conceived without a father. She names the kid Anakin. By the time he's a toddler, Anakin and his mother are both owned by a Toydarian named Watto and living on the desert planet Tatooine — but Anakin's destiny soon arrives and changes their lives forever.

A special boy and a new threat

As part of his plan for galactic domination, Sidious acts as secret advisor to the greedy Trade Federation, and orders them to blockade and invade the peaceful planet of Naboo. Once the Trade Federation arrives on the planet, Sidious, in his Senator Palpatine role, steps in to advise Naboo's queen, Padme Amidala. He tells her the current chancellor of the Republic isn't acting in their best interests when it comes to fending off the invading army of droids. Working with his Sith apprentice Darth Maul, Sidious manipulates and manufactures tensions in the Republic from both sides. Palpatine is elected chancellor at Amidala's urging, granting him unprecedented power to further his plans. The Trade Federation is ultimately defeated on Naboo, but the underlying damage is done.

Meanwhile, two Jedi Knights — Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his Padawan apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi — happen upon young Anakin Skywalker while repairing their starship on Tatooine. Qui-Gon senses unprecedented levels of Force sensitivity in the boy, who is already an accomplished podracer and mechanic. Qui-Gon urges the Jedi Council to train Anakin, but the Jedi, sensing Anakin's fear, are reluctant. After Qui-Gon dies at the hands of Darth Maul and Obi-Wan seemingly kills Sidious' apprentice, however, the Council accepts Anakin as Obi-Wan's new Padawan.

The Jedi discover a clone conspiracy

Over the next 10 years, Anakin Skywalker grows into a talented Padawan under now-Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi. Meanwhile, Darth Sidious takes on a new apprentice in former Jedi Count Dooku, who adopts the Sith name Darth Tyranus. Dooku, at Sidious' urging, creates tension in the Republic by forming the Separatists, a movement of several planets who want to secede from the Republic. As more star systems threaten secession, now-Senator Padme Amidala fights to keep the Republic together, and is nearly assassinated. Obi-Wan is dispatched by the Jedi Council to find out who's behind the attempt on her life, while Anakin stays behind as her bodyguard.

Obi-Wan's investigation uncovers an army of clones on the planet Kamino, seemingly ordered for the Republic by the dead Jedi Knight Sifo-Dyas. These clones were created from the DNA of a Mandalorian bounty hunter named Jango Fett, who was recruited by Darth Tyranus. As payment for helping to create and train this clone army, Jango has the Kaminoans create Boba, an unaltered clone of himself he raises as his son. Jango also continues to take side missions, including one which sees him attempt to murder Padme Amidala.

After engaging Jango Fett in battle, Obi-Wan tracks him to the planet Geonosis, where Count Dooku is overseeing a gathering of new Separatist members. They're already planning on building the "ultimate weapon," later known as the Death Star. Before being captured by Dooku, Obi-Wan informs the Jedi Council of the clone army and Separatist meeting. This leads the Republic to grant Chancellor Palpatine emergency powers to use the clones in the fight against the Separatists, launching the Clone Wars ... which Palpatine is secretly controlling from both sides.

Back on Naboo, Anakin and Padme fall in love. Anakin also grows increasingly rageful: After learning Tusken Raiders caused the death of his mother, he slaughters an entire camp of them. Obi-Wan's capture prompts Anakin and Padme to rescue him and participate in the Battle of Geonosis. During this battle, Dooku escapes, but not before he slices off Anakin's arm.

The Clone Wars rock the Star Wars universe

The Clone Wars rage for three years, with Dooku acting as the figurehead of the Separatist movement and Palpatine the chancellor of the Republic. But of course, Sidious is the secret master of both sides, directing Dooku and pulling strings in the Senate. Meanwhile, a new warlord, the cybernetic General Grievous, commands the droid armies and becomes an important figure in the war.

The war consumes system after system, forcing everyone to pick sides. The Jedi Order is tasked with commanding the clone army. Jedi Council leaders including Yoda, Mace Windu, and Ki-Adi-Mundi are drawn out of Coruscant to fight on the front lines, hampering their already-clouded vision and judgement. Bounty hunters like Cad Bane and pirates like Hondo Ohnaka begin profiting from the war, becoming both adversaries and allies to the Jedi depending on who's paying the bill.

As the conflict continues, Padme remains a force in the Senate, working for unity and fully believing she can trust Palpatine to end the conflict. As for Obi-Wan and Anakin, they fight on the front lines. Anakin even takes on a Jedi apprentice named Ahsoka Tano. Anakin and Ahsoka form a close bond, but when Ahsoka is framed for bombing the Jedi Temple and killing antiwar activist Letta Turmond, she becomes disillusioned and leaves the Jedi Order.

New allies rise, old enemies return

Darth Maul, Sidious' former apprentice, emerges after years of surviving on the dark side of the Force and sheer hatred. Maul's brother — the evocatively named Savage Opress — and the Nightsisters of Dathomir restore Maul with mechanical legs. Together, Maul and Savage scheme to seize power on Mandalore and form a criminal enterprise, which puts them in direct conflict with Sidious. During his invasion of Mandalore, Maul slays Satine Kalevala, Mandalore's pacifist ruler and Obi-Wan's former flame. Satine's sister Bo-Katan, a lieutenant in the terrorist group Death Watch, becomes intent on ending Maul's rule and allies herself with Obi-Wan and Ahsoka.

Meanwhile, thousands of clone troopers manufactured to fight as disposable soldiers develop personalities and dreams of their own. Some, like Captain Rex, form strong friendships with the Jedi. Others, like Cut Lawquane, desert the army. And then there's Clone Force 99, aka the Bad Batch. Designed with genetic mutations that make them stronger, smarter, and deadlier than standard clones, the Bad Batch is sent on high-risk missions suited to their unique gifts. Later, Advanced Recon Commando Clone Corporal CT-1409, or "Echo," joins the unit after being radically altered with cybernetic implants.

All clones are outfitted with inhibitor chips that allow Darth Sidious to override their free will with pre-programmed orders. During the war, a clone known as Fives discovers the chips' real purpose, but is killed before he can reveal the truth. Nevertheless, some clones remain suspicious of their own creation.

Elsewhere, Anakin and Padme are married in secret. But Anakin's darker tendencies grow more and more fierce — particularly when it comes to protecting his loved ones.

The Sith Lord revealed

In the final days of the Clone Wars, Darth Maul, now going by "Maul," has a vision of the rise of the Galactic Empire. Hoping to lure Obi-Wan and Anakin to Mandalore so he can murder them and prevent Sidious' rise, Maul finds himself battling Ahsoka, who allies herself with the clone troopers and Bo-Katan. Maul is captured and Mandalore regains its independence ... for a brief moment.

Meanwhile, Sidious (acting as Chancellor Palpatine) allows himself to be taken prisoner by General Grievous. This kick-starts a major rescue mission. In the following battle over Coruscant, Obi-Wan and Anakin infiltrate Grievous' ship to rescue Palpatine. Inside, they find Dooku. Anakin kills the Separatist leader at Palpatine's behest. Even though he doesn't know it yet, Anakin has basically just made himself Sidious' new apprentice.

With Palpatine rescued, the Republic presses their advantage, and Yoda and Obi-Wan are sent to the front lines to finish the conflict once and for all. Back on Coruscant, Padme informs Anakin that she's pregnant, and his dreams become troubled by visions of his wife dying in childbirth. Anakin is also drawn into a game of espionage between Palpatine and the Jedi. The chancellor appoints him as his liaison on the Jedi Council, who request Anakin spy on the chancellor. This doesn't sit well with Anakin, who grows closer to Palpatine, especially after the chancellor hints he might have knowledge that can prevent Padme's death. To push his plan into its final stages, Sidious reveals himself as a Sith Lord to Anakin. Anakin reports Sidious to Mace Windu, who attempts to arrest the Sith Lord. During the ensuing battle, Anakin chooses to save Sidious and murder Mace Windu.

The fall of the Jedi

With Mace Windu dead, Anakin pledges himself to Darth Sidious in the hopes of saving Padme. Sidious dubs him Darth Vader and orders him to slaughter everyone inside the Jedi Temple — even the defenseless younglings. This begins the Great Jedi Purge under Sidious' Order 66, which requires all clone troopers to terminate Jedi generals on sight. Only a handful of Jedi, including Obi-Wan and Yoda, are able to fend off their attackers. Ahsoka Tano fights a particularly grueling battle aboard the star destroyer transporting the imprisoned Maul; she's forced to free Maul so he can distract enough clones to give her an advantage. Meanwhile, in the Senate, Palpatine uses his power to declare the Jedi outlaws, and turns the Republic into the Galactic Empire.

While most clone troopers obey Order 66, there are some exceptions. Ahsoka removes the inhibitor chip in Commander Rex's brain, granting him his free will and allowing them both to flee. The Bad Batch's mutations make them largely immune to their chips, although some, like sharpshooter Crosshair, later succumb. The Bad Batch's unwillingness to kill Jedi allows a Padawan named Caleb Dume to escape the Purge. Shortly afterwards, the Bad Batch (minus Crosshair) goes on the run with the clone child Omega, who turns out to be another unmodified (albeit female) clone of Jango Fett.

Meanwhile, Sidious decides to end the war by sending Vader to the planet Mustafar, where the new Sith Lord kills all the remaining Separatist leaders and shuts down the clone army. Obi-Wan and Yoda make their move: The former goes to fight Vader on Mustafar, while the latter confronts Sidious on Coruscant. Unfortunately, Padme reaches Vader first. When she tries to make him see the error of his ways, he nearly chokes her to death. Sidious battles Yoda to a stalemate, while Obi-Wan gains the high ground and defeats Vader by severing his legs and remaining arm and leaving him to burn to death in a lava flow.

Heroes forced into exile

After Obi-Wan returns from Mustafar with an unconscious Padme, he and Yoda regroup with Senator Bail Organa of Alderaan. Padme gives birth to twins Luke and Leia before passing away, leaving the children effectively orphaned. Yoda suggests splitting the twins up and placing them in hiding. Leia is adopted by Organa and his wife Breha, while Luke is sent to Tatooine to live with Anakin's stepbrother, Owen Lars, and his wife Beru.

Both Obi-Wan and Yoda go into exile to plan the eventual resurgence of the Jedi. Obi-Wan moves to Tatooine to keep watch over Luke, while Yoda travels to the swamps of Dagobah to live in solitude and reflect on a defeat he never saw coming. In the absence of the Jedi, Darth Sidious/Emperor Palpatine consolidates his vast power with Vader (now wearing a black, armored life support suit) by his side. They eliminate political opponents as necessary and turn the Empire into a military dictatorship. Even as Sidious celebrates, however, a small group of leaders — among them Bail Organa and Mon Mothma – are already sowing the seeds of rebellion.

A rebel without a cause

Though much of the Star Wars story revolves around the exploits of the Skywalker family, one key player has a decidedly different origin. Han Solo, a Corellian orphan working for a local crime lord, makes a failed attempt to escape the planet with his girlfriend, Qi'ra. This leads him to enlist in the Imperial Navy. After three years of service, during which time he's expelled from the flight academy and made an infantryman, Solo deserts and joins up with an outlaw named Beckett to earn a new life for himself as a pilot and smuggler.

His path through the underworld of the Outer Rim reunites him with Qi'ra, now a trusted lieutenant in the Crimson Dawn crime syndicate. They embark on a mission to steal a valuable shipment of coaxium fuel for Crimson Dawn boss Dryden Vos. Along the way, Solo meets the Wookiee Chewbacca, obtains the Millennium Falcon from gambler Lando Calrissian, and evades Imperial ships by making the deadly Kessel Run in twelve parsecs (as long as you round down).

Shortly after stealing the coaxium, Solo discovers rival gang Enfys Nest is made up of freedom fighters trying to start a rebellion against the Empire. Sympathetic to their cause, Solo betrays Dryden Vos and gives the coaxium to these early Rebels. However, Solo is betrayed by both Beckett, whom he's forced to kill, and Qi'ra, who leaves Han for her real boss: Maul. Disillusioned and distrustful, Solo remains a smuggler for the next decade.

Rise of the Rebels

In the years following the Great Jedi Purge, Palpatine obsessively pursues all leads regarding former Jedi in hiding. He creates an order of elite warriors known as Inquisitors to further this goal, dispatching them throughout the galaxy. Even more horrifyingly, Palpatine finally starts work on a massive battle station with the power to wipe out an entire planet.

Meanwhile, the small band of resistance leaders Han Solo encountered grows more organized, and the Rebel Alliance begins to take root. Initially, the movement is a guerrilla affair divided into multiple cells, who have little knowledge of each other. One cell, which travels aboard a light freighter named Ghost, consists of ex-Padawan Caleb Dume (now calling himself Kanan Jarrus), Hera Syndulla, C1-10P (aka Chopper), Garazeb Orrelios, Jacen Syndulla, Sabine Wren, and Ezra Bridger, a young Force-sensitive man who becomes Kanan's apprentice. During a mission, Ezra encounters an elderly Maul in an abandoned Sith Temple. Still a physical threat, Maul initially presents himself as an ally. However, it soon becomes apparent he wants to groom Ezra as his new apprentice. Ultimately, Maul tracks down Obi-Wan, who's still watching over Luke Skywalker on Tatooine. When Maul threatens Luke's life, Obi-Wan kills the former Sith Lord — for good this time.

Ahsoka, now working as a Rebel informant codenamed "Fulcrum," makes contact with the Ghost crew and joins them on multiple missions. Her time with them is cut short, however, when she battles Darth Vader on the planet Malachor. Realizing who Vader really is, Ahsoka swears she won't leave him, and is seemingly killed. Later, Ezra finds himself in the World Between Worlds, a mystical dimension that connects all space and time. Hearing the voices of Jedi from the past, present, and future, Ezra sees Ahsoka just as Vader is about to kill her. He pulls her out of her time and into his. Ezra eventually disappears alongside Grand Admiral Thrawn while freeing his people from the Empire's control.

The fall of Mandalore

Following the Siege of Mandalore and Maul's capture, Bo-Katan is made regent of Mandalore by the Republic. However, she loses this position after the Empire occupies the planet and establishes an Imperial Academy. Intent on reclaiming her world, Bo-Katan nearly gets her chance when Sabine Wren comes into possession of the Darksaber, which she offers to Bo-Katan. However, since Bo-Katan did not earn this weapon in combat, her claim to it (and Mandalore's throne) becomes suspect.

Around this time, a young boy named Din Djarin is orphaned when Separatist battle droids invade his village. Before the droids can kill him, Din is saved by the Children of the Watch, a zealous Mandalorian cult. Raised in their ways, Din comes to believe he can never remove his helmet in the presence of others and still be considered a Mandalorian. Meanwhile, the Empire, frustrated by its inability to control Mandalore, launches a Great Purge that leads to the near-total genocide of the planet's people. Later known as the Night of a Thousand Tears, this attack scatters surviving Mandalorians across the galaxy. The Empire, in full control, casts Mandalorian stockpiles of beskar steel into Imperial ingots. Elsewhere, Imperial officer Moff Gideon takes the Darksaber from Bo-Katan.

As the Empire appears to grow in strength, Galen Erso, a Rebel sympathizer forced to work on the Death Star, places a key flaw that will allow the Rebels to destroy it. Galen gets a message through to his daughter Jyn, who rallies a group of Rebels and the Guardians of the Whills to steal the Death Star plans. In an all-out battle on the planet Scraif, the team succeeds at the cost of their lives, giving the struggling Rebel Alliance hope.

A new hope emerges

Princess Leia Organa, a key member of the Rebel Alliance, flees Scarif with the Death Star plans. When Vader shows up to capture her, Leia hides the plans in a droid named R2-D2, who escapes to Tatooine in a pod with another droid named C-3PO. The plans fall into the hands of Leia's twin brother, Luke Skywalker, a farm boy with dreams of being a Rebel pilot. After viewing a message meant for Obi-Wan, Luke seeks out the old Jedi, now going by Ben Kenobi. Obi-Wan reveals he was once a Jedi Knight, though he keeps Vader's identity a secret. 

Determined to get the plans to Alderaan, Luke and Obi-Wan hire Han Solo (in serious debt to gangster Jabba the Hutt) and Chewbacca to take them there. Sadly, Alderaan is obliterated by the Death Star's commander, Grand Moff Tarkin. Obi-Wan, Luke, Han, and Chewbacca infiltrate the station, but Vader soon senses his former master's presence. A long-awaited rematch between Obi-Wan and Vader ensues, which ends in Obi-Wan's death.

Back at the Rebel base on Yavin IV, the Alliance forms a plan to exploit the Death Star's fatal flaw. Luke volunteers to fight, while Han Solo leaves with a hefty reward. The assault commences as Tarkin sends the Death Star to destroy the Alliance and Vader joins the counterattack in his own fighter. At the last moment, Han returns to help. He shoots Vader out of the sky, leaving Luke free to destroy the Death Star. With the help of the Force, Luke saves the Rebel base and hands the Empire its biggest defeat yet.

A major revelation

Three years pass. Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewie become a cohesive unit of freedom fighters for the Alliance, which moves its base to the remote ice planet Hoth. After thoroughly searching the galaxy, Vader locates the base and launches a full-scale assault, prompting an evacuation. Han, Leia, Chewie and C-3PO flee in the Falcon, while Luke departs for Dagobah with R2-D2, having received a message from Obi-Wan's ghost telling him to seek Jedi training from Yoda.

As Luke grows, Palpatine senses his potential. Vader, realizing who Luke truly is, decides to convert him to the dark side. He also recruits a team of bounty hunters to find the Millennium Falcon. Among their number is Boba Fett, now regarded as one of the deadliest bounty hunters in the universe. After being ordered to take Han Solo alive, Fett tracks the Falcon to the gas planet Bespin, where Solo's old friend Lando gives up the Falcon and her crew. Sensing his friends are in danger, Luke goes to Bespin against Yoda's wishes, leading him right into Vader's trap.

Intending to freeze Luke in carbonite, Vader tests the procedure on Han Solo, prompting Leia to admit her love for the smuggler. As Fett takes Solo's body to Jabba, Vader and Luke throw down in an epic lightsaber duel. After cutting off Luke's hand, Vader reveals he's Luke's father. Devastated, Luke falls into an air shaft and is rescued by Leia, Lando, and Chewie. They quickly start plotting Han's rescue.

Rescuing Han Solo

Leia and Lando infiltrate Jabba's palace, but Leia is captured after defrosting her boyfriend. Luke sends C-3PO and R2-D2 ahead as "gifts" for Jabba, before entering himself. Jabba captures Luke and tries to have him and Han thrown into a Sarlacc pit. But, as Luke reveals, his new lightsaber is hidden in R2-D2's body. Alongside Han, Chewie, and Lando, Luke annihilates Jabba's bodyguards. Leia, forced to toil as Jabba's slave girl, strangles the giant gangster with her own chains.

During the battle, Boba Fett, now employed by Jabba, falls into the Sarlacc pit after a blind Han Solo damages his jetpack. Fett manages to free himself with his flamethrower. Weakened and stripped of his armor by scavenging Jawas, Fett is captured and eventually adopted by a tribe of Tusken Raiders.

Luke briefly returns to Dagobah to complete his Jedi training, only to be told by a dying Yoda that he does not require any further instruction: Confronting Darth Vader will make him a true Jedi. As Yoda becomes one with the Force, he reveals there is another Skywalker. Later, Obi-Wan's ghost informs Luke this other Skywalker is his twin sister, whom Luke immediately deduces is Leia. Although Luke insists he can't kill his own father, Obi-Wan indicates that if he doesn't, the Emperor will win.

The redemption of Anakin Skywalker

The Death Star II is fitted with a shield generated by a satellite dish on the forest moon of Endor. The Rebels launch a covert attack to destroy this generator and a full-scale fleet assault to destroy the Death Star once the shield is down. Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewie lead the Endor team, while Lando, Admiral Ackbar, and Wedge Antilles lead the fleet strike.

The plan nearly goes south when Luke, Han, and Chewie are captured by the native Ewoks, but luckily, Leia and C-3PO get them on their side. Luke, realizing Vader is near, informs Leia of their relationship, then turns himself into Vader. As the battle commences, Vader brings Luke before the Emperor, who attempts to convert him. Luke resists until the Emperor reveals the Death Star is fully operational and capable of destroying the entire Rebel fleet. Hoping to kill the Emperor, Luke summons his lightsaber, leading to a duel with Vader. Tapping into his anger, Luke manages to overpower his father — but as he realizes he's following his dark example, Luke throws his lightsaber aside and proclaims himself a Jedi.

Enraged, the Emperor tortures Luke with Force lightning. Pushed to the limit, Vader throws his master into the station's reactor core, apparently killing him. He dies soon after, redeemed. On Endor, Han and Leia destroy the shield generator, and the Rebel fleet destroys the Death Star. During the ensuing celebration, Luke burns his father's body, and watches Anakin's Force ghost join Obi-Wan and Yoda. Elsewhere, Ahsoka resurfaces and reunites with Sabine Wren. They go in search of a still-missing Ezra Bridger.

Aftermath of the Empire

News of Palpatine and Vader's deaths cause celebrations to break out across the galaxy. The Empire's remnants are sent into what ultimately becomes a semi-organized retreat. There are a few battles left to fight in the Civil War, but the Battle of Jakku, which takes place a year after the Battle of Endor, marks the last major conflict. Imperial loyalists are defeated and their military prowess is crippled.

Despite this, remaining Imperial forces manage to do some major damage throughout the galaxy. Acting on posthumous instructions left by Darth Sidious known as "Operation Cinder," Imperial officers lay waste to multiple planets including Candovant, Abednedo, Commenor, and Cardos, which Sidious wanted to punish for failing to prevent his death. On the planet Burnin Konn, sadistic Imperial general Valin Hess orders a resisting city to be wiped out. This action kills thousands of people, including his entire division. One survivor, sharpshooter Migs Mayfeld, goes on to become a hired gun with deep resentments toward the Empire and Hess.

New players arise

Though the Rebel Alliance is working hard to establish a New Republic, no one knows who's truly in charge. Several key players emerge from this lawless turmoil. On the planet Nevarro, grown bounty hunter Din Djarin accepts a mysterious commission in exchange for a huge stockpile of beskar ingots. This job takes him to a desert planet, where he discovers Grogu, an infant of Yoda's species. Din bonds with the Child and decides to safeguard him from other bounty hunters and Imperial remnants.

Meanwhile, Boba Fett, having lived among the Tusken Raiders for many years, attempts to help his new family by leading an attack on a spice-running hovertrain that regularly terrorizes his tribe. Unfortunately, this causes his entire tribe to be destroyed by the criminal Pyke Syndicate, who frame a local biker gang for the crime. After taking his revenge on the gang, Fett forms an alliance with fellow bounty hunter Fennec Shand and sets out to track down his missing armor.

Said armor has fallen into the possession of Cobb Vanth, the marshal of a small town on Tatooine called Mos Pelgo. Vanth uses the armor to drive the Mining Collective away from his town, but later gives it up to Din Djarin after the Mandalorian helps him kill a krayt dragon that's been menacing the town. Din later encounters Boba Fett and allows him to reclaim the armor.

The Mandalorians reshape the galaxy

Realizing he can't protect Grogu indefinitely, Din attempts to find the child's people. He comes into contact with new allies including Bo-Katan and Ahsoka Tano, who lead them to the planet Tython. There, Grogu reaches out through the Force to another member of his kind. In the process, the hapless little one is kidnapped by Imperial forces led by Moff Gideon. Din enters into an alliance with Boba Fett and Fennec Shand to rescue Grogu. He also enlists Migs Mayfeld, who helps him infiltrate an Imperial base and download key information. Mayfeld manages to kill Valin Hess in the process.

Despite being aided by Bo-Katan, Boba Fett, former Rebel Cara Dune, and Mandalorian Koska Reeves, Din's rescue attempt nearly fails after Moff Gideon unleashes his army of Dark Troopers. At the last instant, Luke Skywalker — alerted by Grogu's distress call — arrives and saves the entire team. Din defeats Gideon in battle, winning the Darksaber, which puts him at odds with Bo-Katan. Grogu leaves with Luke, who intends to make him the first student of his new Jedi Academy. After consulting with Ahsoka and realizing Grogu would rather stay with Din, however, Luke lets him go.

Meanwhile, Boba Fett returns to Tatooine, where he kills Jabba the Hutt's former majordomo Bib Fortuna and takes over his syndicate. Intending to build a new crime family with Fennec Shand, Fett runs into problems with the Pyke Syndicate, who don't like Fett's interference in the drug trade. Fett recruits Din, Wookiee bounty hunter Krrsantan, a gang of cyborgs, and the people of Cobb Vanth's town to help take down the syndicate. Although the Pykes send Fett's old mentor, the deadly Cad Bane, after him, Fett gains the upper hand and becomes Tatooine's reigning power.

New villains arise

As major Rebel Alliance figures like Princess Leia and Mon Mothma shape the New Republic, the Empire's remnants retreat to the Outer Rim, as part of a contingency plan developed by Palpatine. There, they fall under the command of a mysterious Force user named Snoke, who has a passion for the dark side and key knowledge of both the Empire and the Skywalker bloodline. The ashes of the Empire soon give birth to the fearsome First Order.

Meanwhile, Han and Leia have a son, Ben Solo. Luke finally starts a temple and takes Ben on as a student. Unfortunately, Snoke begins to influence Ben's personality, bringing out his darker tendencies. The young Jedi turns on Luke, converting some students and slaughtering others. Heartbroken, Luke goes into exile. Sensing the dire threat Snoke and the First Order pose, Leia forms an underground movement separate from the Republic, known as the Resistance.

Where is Luke Skywalker?

Snoke ultimately brings the First Order out of the shadows three decades after the Empire's defeat, with the goal of taking over the galaxy and exterminating Luke Skywalker. With the help of his military commander, General Armitage Hux, Snoke develops a massive system-killing weapon known as Starkiller Base. Meanwhile, he attempts to find Luke Skywalker through Ben Solo, now a powerful dark side warrior known as Kylo Ren.

Luke's location is secreted away on a star map fragment hidden in a droid named BB-8. This droid is found by a Jakku scavenger named Rey, who teams up with First Order deserter Finn to return BB-8 to his base. Pursued by the First Order, Rey and Finn steal the long-dormant Millennium Falcon, only to run into Han Solo and Chewbacca.

With Han and Chewie's help, Rey and Finn are able to return Luke's map to Leia and the Resistance — but not before Starkiller Base is activated. It wipes out the capital of the New Republic and sends the galaxy into a wave of chaos. Meanwhile, Rey comes across Anakin Skywalker's original lightsaber, which Kylo Ren covets. Curious about this Force-sensitive girl, Kylo abducts Rey, hoping to uncover Luke's hidden location.

The next hope emerges

With little time to mourn the Republic, General Leia Organa, Han Solo, Poe Dameron, Finn, and the Resistance launch a desperate attack to rescue Rey and destroy Starkiller Base. While rigging the base with explosives, Han confronts his son. But Kylo, hoping to prove he's truly turned to the Dark Side, murders his dad in cold blood.

Horrified, Rey takes up Anakin's lightsaber and duels Kylo Ren using the Force gifts she's discovered while in First Order captivity. She defeats him, but doesn't kill him. Hux and Kylo evacuate the base to return to Snoke, while Chewbacca rescues Rey and an injured Finn. Poe and his team manage to critically damage Starkiller Base, which explodes.

After the battle, R2-D2 — who's been powered down since Luke disappeared — reveals he can complete the partial map BB-8 carries. Using this information, Rey journeys with R2-D2 and Chewbacca to a remote island on the planet Ahch-To. There, she asks Luke for help in destroying the First Order and to teach her the ways of the Force.

Luke Skywalker, reluctant master

Following the destruction of Starkiller Base, the First Order attacks the Resistance base on D'Qar, forcing them to evacuate. Poe Dameron leads a massive attack on the First Order fleet against General Leia Organa's wishes, and while the Resistance does escape, they lose many ships and pilots in the process.

What's worse, the First Order can track the Resistance through hyperspace. It's only a matter of time before their fleet destroys the Resistance fighters. Hoping to disable the First Order's tracking device, Finn and fellow Resistance fighter Rose journey to lavish casino town Canto Bight, where they hope to find a master codebreaker capable of sabotaging the First Order. Instead, they team up with rogue thief DJ, who ends up selling them out.

Meanwhile, Rey discovers Luke has become a shell of his former self who believes the Jedis' hubris has doomed the galaxy to darkness. As she tries to convince Luke to help the Resistance, Rey begins experiencing Force-connected conversations with Kylo Ren that are secretly engineered by Snoke. Luke reveals he briefly considered killing a young Ben Solo to prevent his fall to the dark side, which only made it easier for Snoke to convert him. Believing Ben is still capable of redemption, Rey leaves the island. Yoda's Force ghost uses Force lightning to burn down the planet's Jedi library, but not before Rey manages to smuggle out some of the ancient texts.

The last Jedi?

Amid many struggles, Leia and Vice Admiral Holdo stage a last-ditch effort to preserve the Resistance, which gives the remaining fighters a way to reach an old Rebel base on the planet Crait. Unfortunately, DJ reveals this plan to the First Order. They begin picking off the evacuation transports.

On Snoke's flagship, Rey allows herself to be captured so she can convert Kylo. Initially, this seems to work: Kylo kills Snoke and helps Rey fight off his guards. However, Kylo soon reveals his plans to become Supreme Leader and rule the galaxy with Rey by his side. Rey engages him in battle and destroys Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber.

Unwilling to let the Resistance die, Vice Admiral Holdo flies the Resistance flagship into the First Order's fleet, crippling their starships and enabling Finn, Rose, and Rey to escape. The Resistance then mounts a final defense on Crait as now-Supreme Leader Kylo Ren leads a ground assault. The Resistance is outmatched — but then Luke Skywalker arrives to confront Kylo Ren himself.

Luke engages Kylo Ren in a lightsaber duel, which allows the Resistance to flee. Once they're safe, Luke reveals he's actually a Force projection of the real Luke Skywalker, who is still back on Ahch-To. Unfortunately, this proves to be too much for the old Jedi. While the Resistance lives to fight on, Luke passes away, becoming one with the Force after years of closing himself off from it.

The dead speak

With Luke Skywalker gone, Rey trains with Leia. She also teaches herself Jedi lore using the texts she took from Ahch-To. Unfortunately, this keeps her out of many Resistance missions. As the Resistance is now drastically low on fighters, this is a major problem. They do gain one ally in the form of a secret First Order spy, however, later revealed to be Hux. He confirms the rumors gripping the galaxy: Emperor Palpatine has returned. This infuriates Kylo Ren, who hunts Palpatine down on the hidden Sith world of Exegol. 

The Supreme Leader soon finds the old Emperor, who's being kept alive by a complex life support system. Palpatine, it turns out, has been behind the First Order all along. He created Snoke using cloning technology, and has been influencing Kylo Ren his entire life. The Sith Lord makes his secret protégé an offer: Kylo can rule the galaxy as a new Emperor with the help of a long-hidden fleet of planet-killing ships if he agrees to kill Rey.

Meanwhile, the Resistance goes in search of a Sith Wayfinder, which can point the way to Palpatine. This journey leads them across several planets, where they fight everyone from Kylo Ren to First Order forces to the Knights of Ren. Along the way, Rey grows increasingly wary of her place in the world. This anxiety only increases when she discovers she has Sith abilities, including the power to project Force lightning.

All of the Sith against all of the Jedi

Rey's anxieties regarding her identity come to a peak when Kylo Ren reveals her true heritage: She's Palpatine's granddaughter and heir to his power. After learning the truth, Rey nearly kills Kylo — but after Leia intervenes to save her son with her dying breath, she heals him. Rey considers going into exile, but is convinced to return to the fight by the spirit of Luke Skywalker. Using Kylo's Wayfinder, Rey journeys to Exegol to confront Palpatine.

There, the revived Emperor reveals his true plan: To possess her body and become the new Empress and leader of the Sith. Rey refuses, and fights Palpatine with the help of a redeemed Kylo Ren. When all seems lost, Rey draws on all the Jedi who came before her, allowing her to counter Palpatine, who represents the spirits of the Sith. Outside the Emperor's fortress, a Resistance fleet composed of thousands of random ships fights to save the galaxy from the Final Order fleet. In the end, both the Emperor and the fleet are defeated, and the galaxy is saved.

In the aftermath of the battle, Rey forges her own lightsaber and buries those of her teachers in the Tatooine desert. Finally, she reveals she has taken a new name: Rey Skywalker. The Skywalker line will live on through her.